Losing a spouse, parent, or child is one of the hardest things we must endure. When your loved one’s death was caused by the negligence or wrongful actions of another person, it is especially hard to cope with. Nothing an attorney can do will make your loss any easier to bear, but a wrongful death settlement can allow you a sense of justice and a degree of closure in your time of sorrow. Find out when a wrongful death suit may be an option after the tragic death of a loved one.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Every untimely death feels wrong, but that doesn’t make it wrongful under Oklahoma law. The Oklahoma statute defines wrongful death as “the death of one…caused by the wrongful act or omission of another.” In general, a wrongful death action may be taken in situations that would lead to a personal injury claim if the victim had survived. Deaths caused by the following could potentially lead to wrongful death claims:
- Vehicle accidents. When the victim was killed in a car, truck, or motorcycle crash and the operator of the other vehicle was determined to be at fault, the surviving family members may have cause for a wrongful death claim against the driver.
- Premises liability accidents. A slip and fall, assault, drowning, or animal attack that occurred on someone else’s property because the owner failed to maintain safe conditions could result in a premises liability claim. If the victim does not survive the accident, the claim could become a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Medical malpractice. If a doctor or hospital is found to be guilty of malpractice when a patient dies in their care, they may be sued for wrongful death by the patient’s surviving family members.
- Assault. While an assault leading to a death will likely be subject to criminal charges, you may also be able to hold the attacker liable for your losses in a civil proceeding. Sometimes, when the criminal justice system fails to convict a killer, a wrongful death lawsuit is the only recourse to hold the attacker responsible.
Wrongful death claims can be very painful for surviving family members to go through and are difficult to win. If you have lost a loved one in an accident in Oklahoma, trust attorney Scott Ray to handle your claim with skill, compassion, and care.
Damages in Oklahoma Wrongful Death Claims
The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to compensate those who have been directly affected—both financially and emotionally—by the loss of the victim. These claims are usually made by a spouse, parent, or child but may also be made by a personal representative of the deceased’s estate. This person may have been named in a will or may be appointed by the court. Those who are eligible to file a claim must do so within two years of the date of death. Damages may be awarded for the following losses:
- Medical and burial expenses.
- Loss of consortium and the grief of the surviving spouse.
- Mental pain and anguish suffered by the decedent, which shall be distributed to the surviving spouse and children.
- Loss of wages and benefits the deceased would likely have earned if he or she had lived.
- Grief and loss of companionship of the children and parents of the decedent.
Oklahoma also allows for punitive or exemplary damages to be awarded by the court in certain wrongful death cases. These damages are meant to punish the defendant and to send a message that the actions that led to the death will not be tolerated. These damages are awarded to surviving family members, but are not intended as compensation.
You Need an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney by Your Side
If you have lost a loved one in a tragic accident, call our Lawton office to talk to our attorney about a possible wrongful death lawsuit. We understand that you are in pain and we will not make promises we can’t keep. We will treat you with the compassion you deserve as we evaluate your case and let you know if we can help. We are sorry for your loss and will do everything we can to help. Call or fill out the form on this page today. We are here for you.